London's British Film Institute is celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first film A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, with an extended run of 34 screenings. I have the dvd but it would be nice to pop along and see it on the big screen again. It is very special to me. Prior to then, movies with pop stars were lame efforts like those early 60s Billy Fury and Cliff Richard vehicles (see music label), even the Elvis films were starting to look tired - then Richard Lester came along with Alun Owen's witty script and turned it all upside down. It was like a French New Wave zany comedy and not just to expoit the worldwide success of the Fab Four. It is both comedy and almost documentary showing the boys as prisoners of their success, and also some of those songs are staged and filmed like the first pop promos. Lester also included some veteran British players who play perfectly with The Boys.
A movie buff friend of mine, not a pop lover, was "disappointed" with A HARD DAY'S NIGHT when he saw it recently, but as I said, you would not judge it as an ordinary film. Lester created a perfect defining 1960s moment, capturing the youth of 1964 with the very individual Beatles seen up close and surrounded them with some perfect British players like Anna Quayle, Norman Rossington and the marvellous Brambell and Spinetti. And then there are the songs - like early pop videos with that gleaming black and white photography.